If you’ve ever done an extensive home renovation or any kind of construction work, you’ll know that there is a significant amount of attendant trash and mess and byproducts leftover after the project is completed. All this waste has to go somewhere, and it’s not going to be your front lawn. You have several options for getting rid of the mess, one of which is by recycling.
Millions of tons in waste
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said, "An estimated 170 million tons of building construction, renovation, and demolition-derived wastes were generated in 2003, a year when the housing market was thriving and homeowners were not shying away from costly home improvement projects."
The economy may not be what it once was, but it is on the rebound and with the currently popular trend of home remodeling, renovation, and flipping on the rise, tens of millions of tons of waste continue to be generated each year. The question is, what can we do about it?
Reuse what you can, recycle what you can’t
There must always be things you have to throw away-packaging, unusable scraps, demolition debris, etc.-but things like unused lumber, leftover hardware, and recently-replaced but still functional fixtures can be repurposed or recycled. Don’t just throw away that extra lumber. Ask around the neighborhood or friends and family to see if they need any for their own home improvement projects. If you have a little extra space and some tarps, store the extra wood to be used as firewood or to make repairs to fences or your deck. If you replaced your old fixtures with newer models but the old fixtures still have some life left in them, look into places that accept that kind of donations so they can be used and loved again in future home improvement projects.
Ask your contractor
Your contractor is a good source of information on how to recycle leftover materials. Wood is highly recyclable and can be turned into composite wood products which then could be sued for decks and other household materials. It can also be chipped into mulch or compressed into particle board. You could use the mulch in your own landscaping if you so desired. Asphalt and concrete can also be recycled into new products.
Use recycled products
Another way to build sustainably is to buy recycled products for your building materials. In this way, you continue the cycle of green construction, hopefully leaving the world a little better place for your children to enjoy.
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